Monday, December 11, 2017

New Land, Old Land

I recently closed on a two-acre parcel of land in Delaware County, NY. It's located in the NYC Watershed, and there is a moratorium on industrial development so that the waters are kept free of hazardous materials. Basically it's like acquiring land in the middle of a national park. This is the land where I grew up. (The grey building in the photo is the house I grew up in.) For now my little parcel of land is mostly milkweeds so I like to think of it as a butterfly sanctuary. I have dreams of one day establishing an artist retreat, or a land art garden, or a sustainable berry farm. I will continue to post updates as things develop. 


Thursday, November 23, 2017

In a Time of Trouble a Wild Exultation

I'm pleased to share that my long-time-friend-for-the-ages, Jaye Bartell, has used a painting I made over ten years ago as the image of his new album, In a Time of Trouble a Wild Exultation. I met Jaye in 2004 when we both worked in a coffeeshop in Asheville, NC. I was working on the painting during that time. Over the years Jaye and I were roommates a couple times and have generally shared a fondness for rad female painters and writers. Jaye lives in Brooklyn now and is a brilliant friend to visit galleries and museums with.
Please give his music a listen - it's so lovely:

In this interview, Jaye writes:
"The cover art is by Ursula Gullow. Throughout the nearly 15 years I’ve known Ursula, she has represented what I understand an artist to be, and has guided and formed that definition in a primary, ever-expanding way. Her work has been on the walls of any place I’ve ever lived. I love Alice Neel and Edvard Munch and Charlotte Salomon because their work reminds me of Ursula’s, so her work was my point of entry. I didn’t grow up in an “artistic” environment, or a literary environment. It wasn’t until 18 or 19 that I started reading and looking at images that weren’t on television, a cereal box, or an album cover. Ursula’s cover painting was the first work of art that breathed and moved me toward not only reverence or admiration, but to work and to a life where dreams and grace and mystery had value."

Sunday, June 25, 2017


One is a Crowd

a collaborative public art-making project
July 3 — September 30.
Artspace 201 E. Davie St. Raleigh, NC 27601

Every perception of color is an illusion.. ..we do not see colors as they really are. In our perception they alter one another.
- Josef Albers

In his book, The Interaction of Color, Josef Albers proposes that all color is relative; each color can only be seen according to those colors that surround it. One is a Crowd asks participants to consider how they perceive themselves and others in relation to the people around them. The project explores the shifting boundaries between the individual and their community, and the in-between spaces of social interaction.
For the month of July, I will be facilitating the development of One is a Crowd in the Upfront Gallery & Lobby of Artspace in Raleigh, NC. All are invited to participate at any point during the month. As a collaborator, you will create a self portrait/representation in my workroom at Artspace, which I will incorporate into a large on-site installation. Portraits must be created with me at Artspace using my materials and guidelines. All are welcome to participate - no art-making experience is necessary.  Read more

Artspace is open to the public Tues - Sat: 10am - 6pm.

Thursday July 13, 6:30—8:30pm
Meet the Residents: Artist talks with Ursula Gullow + David Politzer. Read more.

Saturday July 15, 10:00am—12:00pm
Connect & Create self-portrait workshop for families. Read more.

July 17—July 21, 9:00am—12:00pm
Workshop: expressive self portraits Ages 11-16 only. Read more.

Friday August 4, 6:00—9:00pm
Opening reception for One is a Crowd final installation. On view thru September 30.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Residency recap

Spark Box Studio Picton, Ontario, Canada. Aug. 1-13, 2016

July 27: I leave for Canada having just completed three distinct exhibitions in Asheville, NC. I'm feeling ready to sow some seeds, experiment, and see what transpires. 

I stay in Toronto for five nights - fabulous city.

With travel restricting my material supply and knowing that I won't  have access to an art store during the residency, I must thoughtfully plan my materials list. At a store called DeSerres on Spadina Ave in Toronto I purchase:
• Set of 10 Golden Fluid Acrylics
• 1 tube Titanium White
• Small bottle of  DeSerres pouring medium
• 1  long-stem bright
• 1 small glue stick, 

• 1 hot pink marker 
• 36" x 60" un-stretched primed canvas

Materials packed in my suitcase from Asheville: assorted decorative papers, 30 sheets 8 x10 paper, 25 sheets 11” x 14” digital print cardstock, 1 almost-empty tube of sap green, small half-empty bottle of high-flow Nickel Azo Yellow and Quinachridone Nickel Azo Gold, 2 markers (green and purple), 4 short-handled brights, one liner brush, a black pen, a charcoal pencil.

Landscape by David Milne (1882-1953)
While in Toronto I visit the Art Gallery of Ontario where I see paintings by Canada’s Group of Seven and other Canadian painters such as David Milne. I am particularly struck by Milne's use of black and his pared-down landscapes. 

On Monday, August 1st, I take a bus to Belleville, Ontario where I'm greeted by Chrissy Poitras and Kyle Topping who are the founders of Spark Box Studio. 

As we drive to the residency my hosts explain that the area is in the midst of a drought having had no rain for several weeks. The roads are dusty and the fields are turning brown.



Spark Box Studio is located in rural Picton, Ontario in a farmhouse which is big enough to house three residents at a time. My studio is well-lit and clean with a good amount of wall space and tables. there is a separate print shop out back with an extensive library of books. The grounds are lovely and provide shade during the long, hot, mid-summer days. 


During the first couple days I work frenetically in the studio hashing out ideas that have been floating around in my head for awhile. I decide that I will work on paper until I have established some concrete ideas which I will then pursue on canvas.

The second night of the residency I take a long walk and almost get lost. The roads are long and flat. Everything looks the same and I can't figure out where I am. I don't  have my phone on me and the night gets dark quickly in Picton. I finally find my way home via the sunset. My neon blue sneakers have turned grey with dust.

Chinatown in Toronto

I spent a couple days experimenting with the backside of the primed canvas and also painting on the canvas while it’s flat on the table so the fluid paints puddle up in the rolls and ripples of the canvas. I like this method and will try it more in my studio at home.


Another new element I invite into my residency studio practice: black paint. I have always mixed my own black – rarely have I used black out of the tube and even less have I mixed black with other colors. Lately I’ve been wanting a more toned-down palette for representational work. I take inspiration from David Milne and his black landscapes.

On the third evening of the residency Chrissy takes us to a Lake Ontario "beach". The water levels are low. Surrounding wells have dried up and residents must drive to a water-filling station which provides filtered water from the lake.

I frequently take walks in the neighboring farmer’s field. By the fourth day I'm really beginning to feel a connection to the landscape and I decided that I will continue the residency using the surrounding environs as my inspiration.

The flat flat landscape and brutally hot days and nights are new to me. Shadows extend for great lengths when the sun disappears behind the flat horizon and the sky turns into streaks of hot orange pink on blue.

Farm Dump

There is a junk pile a couple miles from the residency site, at the end of a trail that winds around a golden field. I love the way it provides an abrupt visual within the flat landscape - particularly when the sunset is breaking over it. I make a painting of it and am pleased with the results. This painting captures an aesthetic I’ve been going for and the subject matter resonates with me. (Heaps, mounds and piles are not new to me.) I decide I will continue to find unsentimental spaces where man and nature converge – eg, dumps, industrial lots, etc… I start looking for these spaces during my walks.

I quickly use up the canvas I had acquired in Toronto so Chrissy lets me purchase a 36” x 60” piece of raw canvas. She doesn't have anything to prime the fabric so I spent a night rubbing my murky grey paint water into the fibers of the canvas on the floor of the studio. I enjoy how the paint water stains the canvas so I throw black and yellow paint onto the wet canvas, allowing it to bleed through the fibers. It’s mesmerizing to do this. I hang up the wet bolt of canvas and go to bed.

Next day the canvas is dry and I began staining it more, then add more paint and marks. I adhere a piece of paper to the canvas  and rub it into the fibers. I feel like a fiber artist and it is exhilarating. 

I'm somewhat overwhelmed by the possibilities – with the use of decorative papers it is endless what could be achieved. These are my first attempts with working paint into raw canvas. I will try more in the future. 

Toronto after a Storm

The Perseid meteor shower in the early hours of August 12 is amazing. I go out at 4:00 am and lay down on the picnic table. I count over 50 shooting stars before dawn arrives.

Nearing the end of the residency, I take stock of everything I have worked on: nine works on canvas, several on paper – a portrait each day…It’s been a good run. I think my favorite piece is the very last painting I make on my last scrap of canvas  - an A&W hamburger stand.  

I roll up the canvases and pack them into a cardboard cylinder for their journey to Asheville where they will get more attention in my studio.

Aug. 13: Rain cascades over Ontario as we drive to the Belleville train station. The drought is ending.

Many thanks to Chrissy and Kyle of Spark Box Studio for this fabulous journey.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Self Exam; curator's statement

Many thanks to artist, educator and curator, Dawn Roe for inviting me to install an iteration of SELF EXAM, my daily portrait project, as part of a thing re | sembling a win•dow. Roe also composed a brilliant catalogue for the exhibit which can be viewed (and printed) here. Excerpts from the curator's statement are below.

"The portrait studies of Ursula Gullow take shape as a similarly vast pile....the many hundreds of representations are heavy in their directness as well as their multitude, confronting the viewer repeatedly in a manner that becomes disorienting – with each singular image inevitably melding into its neighbor, ultimately becoming a massive conglomeration."

"Installed as a flattened pile of color copies, the resulting conglomeration forms a taxonomy of self-image, functioning as both archive and diary. The directness of the bust study in Gullow’s reiterative installation of multiple reproductions allows the figure’s gaze to confront the viewer with an uneasy immediacy – a sense that translates back to the artist’s encounter with themselves in the initial moments of depiction, then further transformed via the original study’s removal from its place within the timeline to a reproduction affixed to the wall."

"Gullow’s head and shoulders compositions correlate to conventional expectations attached to portraiture, while other aesthetic choices function in direct opposition to classical traditions. Gullow is almost defiant in her willingness to allow visual distortions to skew proportions, or for particular mark-making strategies or color palette choices to veer into the carnivalesque."

"...the regimented tracking of time evidenced in Gullow’s Self-Exam reproduces the existential apprehension we face with each waking day, and, as a durational exercise, we understand the project as ongoing and potentially endless – lending a particularly entropic feel to the imagery when seen en masse."  ~Dawn Roe, curator;  a thing re | sembling a win•dow

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

June Exhibitions


June 10 - July 5

London District Studios
8 London Rd. Asheville, NC

Opening reception is Friday, June 10 (6-10pm)

                                                 "Armament" acrylic and mixed media on canvas 30" x 40" 2016
Confetti marks my first solo exhibition in Asheville since 2012 and I'm delighted to have it in Asheville's new creative space, London District Studios located in an up-and coming industrial neighborhood right around the corner from Biltmore Village.
The paintings in this show are abstracts and landscapes that explore the continuum between biological processes and the mechanized modes of production. When making them, I consider how the materiality of paint can contribute to a narrative - such as the foreboding quality of a drip or the puddling of paint on the canvas. Elemental gestures, dribbles and amalgamations are conveyed in synthetic color to suggest corporeal terrains teetering between celebratory and sick.

More information here.


a thing re | sembling a win•dow

May 20 - June 25

Asheville Area Arts Council
Grove Arcade, Asheville, NC

Opening reception is Friday, June 3 (5-8 pm)
Performance and panel discussion Thursday, June 9 (6-7:30pm)

I'm thrilled to present an iteration of my Self Exam project as part of this amazing group art exhibit, curated by Dawn Roe of Window re/production re/presentation. The work I am presenting is a site-specific installation comprised of over 1,000 printed reproductions of self portraits that I've produced since July 2013. (You can see some process shots here.) Other artists' work will include sculptural fabrications, analog photography, screen prints and performance.


Southern Draw

June 10 - July 10

474 Gallery
474 Haywood Road, West Asheville

Artist reception is Friday, July 8 (5-8 pm)

"No Retreat, No Surrender" acrylic on paper 11" x 14" 2016

Southern Draw is a series of exhibitions featuring drawings and works-in-progress by regional artists. My contribution is 15 works on paper interpreting a pool party scene from the 80's B-movie, No Retreat, No Surrender. The drawings illustrate recurring motifs and stereotypes presented in commercial media, and convey the awkward in-between moments of social situations. 
Other Southern Draw artists are: Nora Hartlaub, Hoss Haley and Ron Laboray.


Haen Gallery (ongoing)

52 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC

My impressionistic oil paintings of people in public spaces are on view at Haen Gallery in downtown Asheville and Brevard, NC.

TV Party 36" x 48" oil on canvas, 2016